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Wrestling reinstated as Olympic sport in time for Tokyo 2020

The International Olympic Committee has reinstated wrestling as an Olympic sport in time for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. The decision overturns a surprising decision to withdraw its Olympic status seven months ago.

Wrestling made an unprecedented comeback on Sunday when it easily beat rival bids from squash and baseball/softball for a spot on the program of the 2020 Games.

It received 49 of 95 votes from IOC members, with baseball/softball and squash winning 42 and 22 respectfully.

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Wresting, which had featured in every modern Olympic Games apart from 1990, was dropped from the list of core sports in a surprise move by the IOC back in February.

The decision was followed by a frantic six-month campaign by the international wrestling federation (FILA) to revamp the both the organization and the sport.

It has now become the first ever sport to win its place back immediately, with all other events taking years or decades to return.

"Normally this is done in a few years, we did it in a few months. It was a question of our survival," the international wrestling federation (FILA) president Nenad Lalovic told reporters.

"With this vote, you have shown that the steps we have taken to improve our sport have made a difference," Lalovic said. "I assure each of you that our modernization will not stop now. We will continue to strive to be the best partner to the Olympic Movement that we can be."

In the final presentations prior to Sunday's vote Lalovic described it as "the most important day in the 2,000-year history of our sport."

As the latest Games extant, wrestling becomes the only sport to be guaranteed a place in the 2024 Olympics, with the 27 others up for review in 2017. I also means it will have a spot in the 2020 Games which were awarded to Tokyo on Saturday.

The Japanese capital beat out Istanbul and Madrid for the Games.

ccp/dr (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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